Best speech therapy toys

 The parachute is another favorite speech therapy toy of mine.  I have added to the list of my favorites for speech and language delayed children….and also for children that present with an autism spectrum disorder.   

A few years back…while doing research on the autism spectrum disorders….and doing reasearch on RDI…(for more specific information and very helpful information…..please go to their website: )……..well in doing my research I found that I really needed to change the toys I used with children on the spectrum…..I needed to really encourage social interaction….and I needed to stop talking!   Why…..because sometimes…..too much talking….is too much for children on the spectrum…..let’s make the goal for her to desire to play with me… like my toy so much…that she chooses to engage in the activity with me. 

Well…in doing some of my own research about autism spectrum disorders and RDI….and with the help of families I was working with….I was able to better understand the philosophy and the model that RDI purposes.  For me….as the speech and language pathologist, working on the team… the related service provider…I had to learn how to develop a more meaningful and connected relationship with children on the spectrum…..sometimes without any language at all….and that was hard for me.  But I found….and still find….that simple activities like airplane rides on your legs…bouncy on a big yoga ball……singing “row-row-row-your-boat”…..on the floor….holding hands with the little one….and moving back and forth together…….these non-verbal activities….achieved so much non-verbal social language.  The eye contact that was established back and forth between me and the child….the smile from the little one…the giggle or laugh…..and then when I stopped…..eventually we would hear a real and meaningful word… tell me that she wanted to “jump” again on the trampoline…..or she would say….”bounce”….because she wanted to bounce again on the big yoga ball.  Amazing to hear functional and spontaneous language…that was social and meaningful.

So to add to my list of favorite toys…..I add the parachute… of all ages seem to like this activity.  For children that are NOT on the autism spectrum….be sure to use the strategies of self talk and parallel talk…..and expansion in order to elicit language.  Find those strategies on the teach me to talk page.

If you are working with a child on the autism spectrum….this activity can be used without any language demands at all… you start to pair yourself with an activity that the child truly desires……she should then desire to engage in the activity with you!  If you read on my autism spectrum disorders page…you will see that it has been my experience that children on the spectrum…..struggle with spontaneous and functional language….language that is not scripted…language that is used with meaning on a spontaneous level.  The other weakness is noted with regard to the child’s desire to be social and engage in an activity with someone else.  So with an activity such as the parachute…a Yoga ball…a trampoline….playing row-row-row-your-boat…..or giving your little one an airplane ride on your legs…..all of these activities can be used in a non-verbal way….to elicit social interaction with your little one….and used to help them to desire to be social with you! 

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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